The operational rules for the electricity markets in Latin America are changing at the same time that the electricity power plants are being subjected to stronger environmental restrictions, fierce competition and free market rules. This is forcing the conventional power plants owners to evaluate the operation of their power plants. Those thermal power plants were built between the 1960’s and the 1990’s. They are old and inefficient, therefore generating expensive electricity and polluting the environment. This study presents the repowering of thermal power plants based on the analysis of three basic concepts: the thermal configuration of the different technological solutions, the costs of the generated electricity and the environmental impact produced by the decrease of the pollutants generated during the electricity production. The case study for the present paper is an Ecuadorian 73 MWe power output steam power plant erected at the end of the 1970’s and has been operating continuously for over 30 years. Six repowering options are studied, focusing the increase of the installed capacity and thermal efficiency on the baseline case. Numerical simulations the seven thermal power plants are evaluated as follows: A. Modified Rankine cycle (73 MWe) with superheating and regeneration, one conventional boiler burning fuel oil and one old steam turbine. B. Fully-fired combined cycle (240 MWe) with two gas turbines burning natural gas, one recuperative boiler and one old steam turbine. C. Fully-fired combined cycle (235 MWe) with one gas turbine burning natural gas, one recuperative boiler and one old steam turbine. D. Fully-fired combined cycle (242 MWe) with one gas turbine burning natural gas, one recuperative boiler and one old steam turbine. The gas turbine has water injection in the combustion chamber. E. Fully-fired combined cycle (242 MWe) with one gas turbine burning natural gas, one recuperative boiler with supplementary burners and one old steam turbine. The gas turbine has steam injection in the combustion chamber. F. Hybrid combined cycle (235 MWe) with one gas turbine burning natural gas, one recuperative boiler with supplementary burners, one old steam boiler burning natural gas and one old steam turbine. G. Hybrid combined cycle (235 MWe) with one gas turbine burning diesel fuel, one recuperative boiler with supplementary burners, one old steam boiler burning fuel oil and one old steam turbine. All the repowering models show higher efficiency when compared with the Rankine cycle [2, 5]. The thermal cycle efficiency is improved from 28% to 50%. The generated electricity costs are reduced to about 50% when the old power plant is converted to a combined cycle one. When a Rankine cycle power plant burning fuel oil is modified to combined cycle burning natural gas, the CO2 specific emissions by kWh are reduced by about 40%. It is concluded that upgrading older thermal power plants is often a cost-effective method for increasing the power output, improving efficiency and reducing emissions [2, 7].

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